Wednesday, Jul 06, 2022

13 Feared Dead In Fire At ICU Ward Of Covid-19 Hospital In Maharashtra

The patients’ identity could not be ascertained as they were charred beyond recognition.


At least 13 ICU patients have died after a fire broke out last night at a hospital in Maharashtra's Virar, about 70 km from state capital Mumbai. A short circuit is believed to have caused the fire at 3:00 am today. The situation is said to be under control now.

The fire broke out in the ICU on the second floor of the four-storeyed Vijay Vallabh Hospital at Virar shortly after 3 am, an official said. Firefighters extinguished the blaze at 5.20 am, he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives and approved an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each for the next of kin of the victims.  "The fire at a COVID-19 hospital in Virar is tragic. Condolences to those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover soon," Modi was quoted as saying by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

"PM @narendramodi has approved an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each from PMNRF (Prime Minister's National Relief Fund) for the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to the hospital fire in Virar, Maharashtra. Rs. 50,000 would be given to those seriously injured," the PMO said in a tweet.

There were 17 patients in the ICU when the fire broke out, the official said. Four patients were rescued and shifted to other hospitals in the area, he added.

Virar is over 50 km from Mumbai.

The tragedy comes two days after 22 Covid-19 patients who were either on ventilator or oxygen support, suffocated to death when their oxygen supply stopped suddenly due to a
malfunction in the main storage at a civic hospital in Nashik.

District Disaster Control Cell chief Vivekanand Kadam told PTI that the Virar hospital fire was preceded by an explosion in the AC unit of the intensive care unit.

Relatives of the deceased reached the hospital soon after hearing of the incident and demanded that stringent action be taken against those responsible for the tragedy.

Ten infants were killed in a fire that broke out at a special newborn care unit of the Bhandara district hospital in Maharashtra on January 9. Seventeen infants, aged one to three
months, were admitted to the ward at the time of the tragedy.

A fire broke out in Mumbai's Dreams Mall, which housed a Covid-designated hospital on its third floor, in the intervening night of March 25-26. The fire, which raged for
over 40 hours, claimed nine lives, including those of patients
on ventilator support.

The incident comes a day after 22 people lost their lives after an oxygen tanker leaked outside Dr Zakir Hussain Hospital in Nashik, Maharashtra.